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Overview

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a Balkan nation with diverse terrain encompassing Black Sea coastline, a mountainous interior and rivers, including the Danube. A cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian influences, it has a rich heritage of traditional dance, music, costumes, and crafts. At the foot of domed Vitosha mountain is its capital city, Sofia, dating to the 5th century B.C. In Sofia, the National Museum of History displays gold artifacts excavated from the Valley of the Thracian Rulers, a well-known collection of tombs near the town of Kazanlak. Medieval churches at Ivanovo are cut from solid rock. The fortresslike Rila Monastery, built in Bulgarian Renaissance style, is set in the Rila Mountains. Archaeological sites include Nessebar, the 3,000-year-old ruins of a Greek colony, on the Black Sea. Up the coast, Varna is known for beach resorts, while southwestern Bansko is a ski destination. There are hundreds of mineral springs countrywide, notably at the spa towns of Varshets and Velingrad.

Food Must Try

Baked extravaganza- Banitsa

This piece of greasy pastry deliciousness can be purchased in bakeries all over the country. Its standard variety includes a filling of feta-like white cheese (сирене, sirene), though varieties filled with onions, cabbage, spinach, mushrooms or pumpkin can also be found. For your sweet tooth, you can also try banitsa with apples and walnuts. Banitsa in any of its forms is an inseparable part of a traditional Bulgarian breakfast. Combine it with the thick fermented wheat drink boza for a quintessential Bulgarian experience.

Caption

The Bulgarian cousin of former Yugoslavia’s famous ćevapčići and Romanian mititei, a kebapche is the perfect side dish to a glass of cold Bulgarian beer on a summer day. Though Bulgarians may argue about that, whether the beer is a Kamenitza or a Zagorka makes no big difference. The important part is that the kebapcheta are at least three and include some kind of sides, usually French fries with grated sirene cheese on top, to make the classic “three kebapcheta with sides” (тройка кебапчета с гарнитура, troyka kebapcheta s garnitura).

musaka (мусака)

This dish is enjoyed in many variations throughout the Balkan region. The Bulgarian version involves potatoes, eggs and minced pork meat and is a known favorite of Bulgarian men, among whom it is a popular joke that they cannot marry a woman who is unable to cook the perfect musaka. While the Greek variety of musaka may be based on eggplant, the Bulgarian dish relies strictly on potatoes to layer the meat. The whole thing is traditionally covered with thick Bulgarian yoghurt on top.

Excursions

Etar Architectural-Ethnographic Complex

The Open Air Ethnographic Museum «Etar»is an open-air museum and a neighbourhood of Gabrovo (8 km south of its center) in northern Bulgaria. It is located on the northern edge of the Bulgarka Nature Park, between the park and the city of Gabrovo. It presents the Bulgarian customs, culture and craftsmanship. It spans over an area of 7 ha and contains a total of 50 objects, including water installations and houses with craftsmen’s workshops attached. As a whole, the complex’s goal is to illustrate the architecture, way of life and economy of Gabrovo and the region during the Bulgarian National Revival.

Perperikon

The ancient Thracian city of Perperikon is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km northeast of the present-day town of Kardzhali, Bulgaria, on a 470 m high rocky hill, which is thought to have been a sacred place. The village of Gorna Krepost (“Upper Fortress”) is located at the foot of the hill and the gold-bearing Perpereshka River flows near it. Perperikon is the largest megalith ensemble in the Balkans.

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